People who succeed in accounting do two things extremely well:
One, they understand and embrace the accounting fundamentals that get them results. Second, they always sweat the little things and reject the idea of taking shortcuts when it comes to bookkeeping, procurement, expenses, invoicing and any other activity that impacts the bottom line. For years, this combination has given organizations a foundation they can rely on for quality reporting and statements.
Today, many researchers & analysts believe that accounting processes and the profession as a whole are in the crosshairs for automated disruption. We’ve all seen it happen with the self-checkout kiosks at grocery stores and the robots that pick up parcels in Amazon warehouses. But most of us never thought that robots would replace humans working in white collar jobs due to their complexity.
The discussion has changed. It’s no longer a question of whether automation will play a role in the accounting profession—now it’s a question of exactly how automation will influence accounting. A study conducted by Deloitte on the probability of future automation gives us an idea of what the future holds for accounting roles:
In this blog post, we’re going talk about some of the reasons why automation isn’t necessarily a bad thing—and how it could be one of the best things that has ever happened to the accounting profession.
More Time To Focus On Strategic Activities
In a recent piece in the Wall Street Journal, Charles Holley, former CFO of Wal-Mart, explained a few key things that CEOs want from their financial leaders, including (1) understanding and challenging the business strategy, (2) building strong relationships with business leaders, (3) offering solutions and (4) making sure the financial reporting, controllership and accounting are under control. An increased level of automation allows accounts to focus on these things instead of just number-crunching.
Stereotypically, accounting professionals are straightlaced number-crunchers. But the best organizations know their financial talent can offer strategic insight and advice on compliance, cost savings and threats within the company.
Increased Productivity Across The Entire Team
One of the most exciting aspects of automation is the increase in productivity. Even if your company only has a one- or two-person accounting team, automated finance solutions can free up their time and energy.
An accountant who was once tasked with managing everything from bookkeeping to credit card reconciliation can now take care of these tasks through an automated system. With modern computing technology and finance software, it’s easy for receipts to be scanned and filed, purchase orders to be approved with the click of a button and virtual credit cards to be distributed to ensure accountability.
More Accurate Reporting
While productivity is an important reason for accountants to embrace automation, human nature also carries some of the blame for automation’s continued rise in this profession. You see, just as humans driving increases the likelihood of car accidents, humans using accounting software increases the likelihood of accounting accidents. Technology and artificial intelligence are relatively free of human bias and are not influenced by distractions that can lead to typos or rounding errors. Of course we all strive to be perfect in our work, but the reality is that perfection is impossible. Humans make mistakes and automation can help reduce room for error.
More Focus On Delivering Insights From Data
As automated systems and workflows reduce the amount of repetitive grunt work, accountants spend less time tackling routine tasks and more time applying analytical thinking to unlock insights. Though software will almost certainly assist in delivering insights, there’s still no replacing the value that an accounting professional brings to the table when it comes to turning data into valuable insights.
Wrapping Things Up
When you recognize that the work of a finance professional goes beyond number-crunching, you can quickly see why it will be challenging to automate the role entirely. While we agree with the experts that repetitive tasks will be replaced by automation, we believe that this level of automation will amplify talent rather than replace it.
At Teampay, we’re striving to automate processes that are repetitive so you can focus on things that matter. Our virtual card platform makes it easy to give credit cards to employees, track their spending and ensure that spend management results in transparency and accountability within your company. If you’re interested in learning more about the functions that Teampay is automating to make your life easier, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.